Chronicles of the workroom war Part 3- Privacy, proper storage and moving in!

I have now officially moved into my workroom! When I left you last it was an empty shell, needing all the exciting things like curtains, storage and well…furniture. Here’s how I got it there.

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(These photos happened before I painted the floor– continuity is an illusion!)

I went out and bought a bay window kit which is basically a pole with some cuts in it so normal humans can bend it.

Bending a metal pole made me feel like some kind of victorian strongman. Cheers house for helping me live my dreams.

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To get the second bend I cut some slots further down the pole- wearing a face mask because flying bits of metal hot damn.

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Pro tip: Don’t attempt to put one of these up yourself like I did, it’s a billion times easier with two people.

Eventually I got it up there, then I went to hang the curtains on…

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That fancy corbel at the sides of the window had betrayed me and I had a whopping great big gap down the side of the curtain. The weight of the curtain was also pulling on the bay corner and it was all just one whopping great big mess. So I gave it a week to stew on what had gone wrong, then went out and bought a new set of poles.

I did look into getting a pole custom made…but that would take weeks and cost me an extra couple hundred pounds. That plus lack of privacy was driving me insane, so I decided to just see what I could do with a straight pole.


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I learnt from my past mistakes and this one went up easy as pie. It even managed to line up where there was a hole in the coving from a past curtain pole- so that basically means it’s fate, right?


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The curtain cuts off a bit of a bay window but as I was putting my drawing board there I didn’t mind so much.

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Here’s the other side- not looking too bad! It only cost £40 and the curtains came free with the house. 😀

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Now I just need to patch over the holes I made for the first attempt.

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Next it was on to shelves! You lose a lot of storage space when you take out a wall so I decided to put build shelves in my two alcoves. All the wood came from the wardrobes I pulled out many months ago. 

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I finally unpacked my kitchen table! We bought this years ago at a carboot for £5 and it’s definitely been worth the investment. Every time it gets a bit too scummy I just paint it again. It made a great work bench for cutting all the wood.

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Spirit level is your friend. My walls are so wonky the only thing constant is the earth’s gravitational pull.

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Marking holes- my pencil didn’t fit in here so a screwdriver did the job instead.

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First set goes up to test the method.

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I learnt from my last set of shelves to work from the top down- easier to get inside to screw the batons on and means the dust all ends up on the floor instead of on the previous layer of shelf.

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The batons were just strips of the chipboard that I ripped with a circular saw. With the method for the top shelf proven to work I went on to do the rest of the shelves, cutting and labelling everything up at once to save time.

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The other improvement on the last set of shelves I built in the red room was to use an actual SDS drill instead of a battery hand held. This thing goes though brick like a knife through toast- with a satisfying scrape.

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Goggles because brick dust + eyes = manly blinding tears.

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Holes drilled!

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Siiighhh I just cleaned that floor.



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Adjusting the shelves to fit exactly in place.

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Fans of Things Fitting Perfectly Into Things will appreciate this.

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My next job was building a desk in the alcove near the window.

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It was a weird shape so I put the spirit level across it and spent ages attempting to measure angles, drawing out over and over again…

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…Before realising that I could just cut a piece of cardboard to fit and make a template. I do this all the time for costume making, so whooo transferable skills.

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And lo a perfect desk!

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Now to sob quietly and hoover up.


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Another day’s worth of work putting shelves up. This time I cut the wood outside but nothing stops the plague that is brick dust.

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This is a big ol’ piece of floor lino offcut I got for £30 on ebay- this year I’ve taken up a couple of dance classes and I need somewhere to practice tap where I won’t gouge out the floor. Here’s to surprisingly tasteful rainbow decor!

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It was very useful for cutting out some white cotton fabric ready to finally get some extra window privacy.

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I used some wallpaper paste left overs to just stick it to the window at half height- no more awkward eye contact with the people in the street!

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After coating the fabric with wallpaper paste I used a pen to mark the edges, trimmed it to size with scissors and I’ve got a semi-permanent curtain that still lets lots of light into the room.

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From the outside it looks a bit ‘GO AWAY’ but I prefer that to feeling like I’m working in a goldfish bowl all the time

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The last part of the workroom was actually putting it to use and making a set of curtains for the double doors- these were made from the last curtain left over from the front window plus some matching chiffon to help get light in in the morning.

Then… I moved all my stuff in.

Then moved it.

And moved it again.

Until eventually I got this:

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Strange how I spent 9 months working out of my bedroom and sewing in a tiny section of my living room but the moment I had the workroom to move into I couldn’t figure anything out. Just goes to show that art happens wherever it happens- you really don’t need a special place for it.

I got caught up in  ‘how would a normal human being make use of this space???’. But the thing is, I’m not trying to make a normal home here, this is my workroom, it’s got to work for me.

I realised that what I wanted was everything in the front room (computer, stock and work tables) and the back room a big open space for whatever I want to do. When friends visit I move the dining table out and make a big table down the middle, but this is how I use the space most of the time. I draw with the light coming in the window, I can get to stock and I have lots of work surface for laying out fabric on. There’s curtains hanging so I can divide the room up if I need to.

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I’ve collected and made a lot of hats over the years so I used them for decoration as well as creating storage for them. There’s a cork board behind my computer for notes but also where I put up some portraits of fans I did for my last kickstarter. Their beautiful faces remind me that I should keep drawing whenever the times get tough.

(Please excuse the internet cable- turns out my computer refuses to find the WIFI despite being in the same room, possibly because there’s a steel beam blocking the magic internet rays. )

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I’ve still got some boxes to sort out but I’m managing to keep things away from the radiator and (mostly) off the workbench.

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All around the room I’ve put up my favourite costumes. I was worried these would clutter up the place but it’s a shame to wear something only a couple of times and then put them into storage where they’re rarely seen. I find it very hard to put my own art on the walls because like most artists I’m very self critical of my work, but costumes just remind me of the good times I’ve had in them.

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Turns out the rainbow chandeliers are the perfect place to put my tape measures so I don’t lose them!

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Then I went and had a birthday party, with all of these lovely people who made nice noises about my house.

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The workroom still isn’t completely finished- I still have to put up a wall of mirrors, sort out the fireplace tiles and have one rather bizarre addition to make, but it’s doing it’s job as a workroom now. Now I just have to go do some work in it instead of ripping out some walls upstairs…

Until next time!


Xx Tab


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